Author Archives: ramiabraham

About ramiabraham

Cupcake logistics wrangler

Second batch of photos!

Two of our speakers, Reed Gustow and Joe Casabona, took the time to capture some excellent photos of WordCamp Lancaster.

Update: An additional speaker, Anthony D. Paul, has a great set of photos as well (added below).

They’re all available on Flickr (click on each image to be taken to the album):

WordCamp Lancaster 2016

WordCamp Lancaster 2016

WordCamp Lancaster 2016

First batch of photos!

Here are some of the photos from WordCamp Lancaster 2016! Thank you to Jonathan Smith, our talented event photographer, for volunteering.

Thank you to Solomon Scott for an excellent set of additional photos!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Join the WordCamp Lancaster Slack Channel!

As WordCamp Lancaster rapidly approaches this wekeend, we want to tell you about our Slack channel. Like many organizations and teams, the WordCamp Lancaster organizing team has been using it to communicate and coordinate with each other internally.

We’ve also got a room for speakers, volunteers, and attendees!

It’s there to help people plan, find cool stuff to do, connect with others, and easily find out information with our sweet Wapuu bot.

@wapuu Bot

At any time, you can ask Wapuu Lancaster, one of several WordCamp Lancaster Wapuus, any of the following (or similar phrases):

    • Show me the schedule new-ss-bot
    • How long until WordCamp Lancaster?

    • wapuu me (gives you a random wapuu, compiled from an archive of all-known Wapuus)

…and much more that you’ll have to find out for yourself 🙂

If you haven’t used Slack before, it is a free messaging app that can be used in the browser, as well as natively on all major operating systems.


To join our Slack channel, please do the following:

1. Nothing! We’ll be inviting all attendees in batches, once per day. We’re close to selling out of tickets, so will be running this once per day until Saturday morning. You’ll receive an invite to the public Slack channel, which will be sent to the email address you used when purchasing your WordCamp Lancaster ticket!

We loves scarves. Do you? We sure hope so! Check these out.

Question: What will Lancaster be like next week?


In lieu of the common t-shirt – a frequent keepsake of technology conferences – this year, we have something completely different. Detailed, high-quality wool scarves.

“It’s like a shirt…for your neck”.
– Nancy J. Scarf, inventor of the scarf

If you’re attending WordCamp Lancaster, you’ll receive one at registration on March 5th 🙂

Our talented designers, Bri and Dustin, did an amazing job. We were also impressed by the quality of manufacturing from the vendor.


Here’s a few shots of the finished product:





First batch of speakers announced!

We’re excited to kick off speaker announcements with the following 10 talented speakers. In alphabetical order:

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    Joe Casabona

    Session title: Have Empathy when Teaching WordPress

    Session description: Teaching anything that comes second nature to us can be a difficult task. While we talk about something we know very well, it’s completely unfamiliar to someone seeing it for the first time. In this talk I’ll go over some of my tried and true methods for introducing and training people on WordPress.

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    Jason Coleman

    Session title: Transitioning From Consulting to Products

    Session description: I’ll go over the past 5 or years of our business as we developed Paid Memberships Pro, integrated it into our consulting, and then eventually transitioned to a 100% products business. For background, some of this is covered in our transparency report blog post from this past summer:

    Original Post:

    Follow Up: This talk will be helpful for any WordPress developers or consultants who are thinking of building products of their own.

    I’ll use our own story as one example of how to do this, with advice that should helpful for businesses and freelancers looking to increase the value of their consulting services, add revenue streams from products, or transition 100% into products like we did.

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    Casey Driscoll

    Session title: Unicode

    Session description: How is language represented? As communication has expanded over the Internet over the last few decades, the world has needed more consistent ways to send messages and information.

    Unicode is the most popular way to express our collective and historical visual language characters into a series of digital ones and zeros. This talk is for people who have heard the word ‘Unicode’ before, but don’t know what it is.

    Very few people need to grasp the complexities of Unicode for their daily work. However, an overview of the problems it solves, and the clever ways in which it solves it, will give all practitioners a better understanding of how the underlying technology works. This is an overview that will only scratch the surface. We will discuss bits and bytes, but the talk will be presented in a way to introduce these foundational computer science ideas to new users.

    It may be challenging for some, but all focus will be put on introducing deep, abstract ideas to new users, empowering them to discover more on their own going forward. Preliminary structure is:

    1. Representing characters as abstract numbers
    2. The limitations of historic charset standards
    3. ASCII and Latin1 ‘single byte’ representations
    4. UTF-8 ‘multibyte’ representations
    5. The WordPress 4.2 UTF8mb4 upgrade and emoji
    6. Unicode 9.0 and the Future

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    Reed Gustow

    Session title: Tiptoe Through The Templates

    Session description: In this session, I’ll explain how a typical WordPress page template works, using the Twenty Sixteen theme as an example.

    I’ll show:
    – How does the page template display your content with a header, footer and a sidebar (or two)?
    – How does the header get there in the first place and what does it do?
    – How did the default menu get there? – Why do some pages have sidebars and others do not?
    – How do sidebars work, and can I add a new one to my site?
    – What is a sidebar, really, and why do you find them in the Widgets section?
    – And what about the footer?

    This is a “tiptoe through the templates“, not a “camp out for 2 weeks in the templates“, but by the time we’re done, you’ll have a reasonable understanding of how page templates work and how you might use your own in a child theme.

    I will be showing live code, not slides, using the files in the Twenty Sixteen theme.

    This session is aimed at advanced beginners to intermediate users who are developer rather than design oriented. You’ll need a working knowledge of HTML. If you know a little PHP, great, but you don’t need to know PHP to understand what I’ll be covering.

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    Russell Heimlich

    Session title: Searching for A Better Search

    Session description: WordPress’ built-in search functionality leaves a lot to be desired. A LOT! Why is the default search lacking in features?

    What are the options for making search on your site better? In this talk I will cover a range of solutions for improving the search results of your site and integrating with WordPress.

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    Nicole Kohler

    Session title: Common Misconceptions About Content Marketing

    Session description: Content marketing sounds like a magic bullet — something that can improve your SEO, boost your traffic, and bring in more sales.

    Reality check: it’s not, at least not for everyone.

    I’ll clear up three common misconceptions about content marketing and explain the realities, plus how you can find the best use for it based on your business, audience, and desired outcome.

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    Sarah Moyer

    Session title: Pushing Your WP Development Skills: Learn by Doing It

    Session description: In this session, I’ll demonstrate how I pushed my limits in WordPress development by building a custom WordPress slider for a client website.

    I hope you will be inspired to take on challenging projects even though you might not know the outcome.

    In this project, I realized that advanced client specs aren’t indomitable; they are catalysts in pushing skills as a person and developer.

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    Bryan Nelson

    Session title: Knowing Your Audience

    Session description: Why do sites fail? They don’t know exactly who their audience is or where their audience is lurking throughout the internet.

    The lack of knowing your audience puts you at a disadvantage in content creation and actually marketing your site to that audience.

    I’ll discuss what you can do to solve this problem by connecting with your audience and paying close attention to who is viewing your site.

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    Anthony Paul

    Session title: Organizing Your First Website Usability Test

    Session description: You’ve built a shiny, new WordPress site. You asked your grandma and your client if they like it and they both do. However, you’re lying awake at night wondering if you’re missing something—because you know you’re not the end user.

    You yearn for actionable feedback. In this talk, I’ll distill my background in usability research into a how-to framework for taking your site and conducting your first moderated usability test.

    I’ll cover what to look for, best practices in facilitation, tools on the cheap, and how to glean the most from a brief window of time.

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    Tracy Rotton

    Session title: You Have Something to Say

    Session description: We all have to start somewhere. You might be new to WordPress, but that doesn’t mean you don’t have something to say.

    In this talk, I’ll share my journey from WordPress newcomer to experienced speaker and how everyone, regardless of their skill level, has something valuable and worthwhile to share with the community.

Meet the organizers!

WordCamp Lancaster is just 43 days away, and we’re overdue to introduce ourselves! Please join me as I tell the story of how we all met, who we are, and what we’re working on for WordCamp Lancaster.

Here we are during a meeting, in which we discussed cupcake logistics, the feasibility of qubits and general quantum computing in contemporary consumer electronics within our lifetime, and various conference matters, such as the after-party, and some design elements we’re working on for the amazing, wonderful, groundbreaking attendee gift we have planned. We agreed to take one or two photos. As you can see, we work hard.

Photo of conference organizers posing with assistant janitor Rami Abraham.

As you can see, we are very serious and dislike joking most of the time.

However, we also play hard – to a degree which is, at times, equal to – but does not exceed – the degree to which we work. Here we are having a large amount of fun and displaying gesticulations and/or facial expressions that are consistent with fun and/or fun-like experiences:

Left to right, top to bottom: Bri either laughing - or consumed with regret for having become an organizer, Dustin indicating he has experienced all the fun he requires at that time, Lauren affirming fun-status with a pragmatic head-tilt-and-hands-on-hips, George singing various Japanese pop top-20 songs, Rami attempting to match Lauren's pose (he can't bend his neck due to JavaScript), Austin ponders the awesome scale of the cosmos.

Left to right, top to bottom: Bri either laughing or consumed with regret for having become an organizer, Dustin indicating he has experienced all the fun he requires at that time, Lauren affirming fun-status with a pragmatic head-tilt-and-hands-on-hips, George singing various Japanese pop top-20 songs, Rami attempting to match Lauren’s pose (he can’t bend his neck due to JavaScript), Austin ponders the awesome scale of the cosmos.

Here’s a bit more details about us, in alphabetical order:

Austin Ginder

Austin is a three-time Go Fish card game world champion, and the founder of Anchor Host.

He works at the Candy Factory – where we’re having our contributor day on Sunday March 6th – and is heading up venue planning this year as the Viscount of Venues.

Bri Piccari

Bri is a four-time Go Fish card game world champion, and the President of AIGA Central Pennsylvania.

Bri is our Duchess of Design + Princess of Printing, and along with Rami, is one of our Party Popes.

Dustin Leer

Dustin is a five-time Go Fish card game world champion, and is a developer from Lancaster PA. He also made four custom Wapuu for WordCamp Lancaster this year, which are all wonderful (two of them are below).

Dustin is our venerable Viscount of Volunteers.


George Stephanis

George is a six-time Go Fish card game world champion, and is a squad lead for Jetpack at Automattic. George served as lead organizer for prior years of WordCamp Lancaster, and is our Taewang of Travel + Safety Sultan + Wifi Whisperer this year.

Lauren Pittenger

Lauren is a seven-time Go Fish card game world champion, and is a designer/developer at LBDesign.

Lauren is the Sultana of Sponsors + Viceroy of Swag.

Rami Abraham

Rami is the developer lead of Maintainn at WebDev Studios. Rami has never played Go Fish.

Rami is the Assistant to the Janitor, and I guess also the lead organizer if you want to be technical about it.

Organizer Emeritus: Mary Waldman

Mary was an amazing organizer; friendly, and talented, she was a member of our team in prior years, but has since needed to commit more time to other engagements.
We list Mary here in gratitude of her service.

Perhaps the most startling and magical coincidence about the 2016 organizing team is that, in a sense, we’ve all met before, through our parents.

When researching all six of us for this post, I found out that all of our parents – together – were the 1951 organizing team of WordCamp Lancaster! Wow – what are the chances? I dug around some more in George’s basement when no one was home and I found this photograph:

Archival official very official photograph of actual event: 1951 WordCamp Lancaster Organizing Committee. SOURCE: National Associated Association of Associates (official).

Archival official very official photograph of actual event: 1951 WordCamp Lancaster Organizing Committee. SOURCE: National Associated Association of Associates [official]

If you take a closer look, you can see that our parents’ names are not only the same as ours (somewhat common), but they also look very much like us:

Close-up of 1951 WordCamp Lancaster Organizing Committee. (official)

Close-up of 1951 WordCamp Lancaster Organizing Committee. (official)

Note: We’re still exploring how this is possible, since WordPress didn’t exist until 2003.

In closing – thanks for reading, and on behalf of us all –

Welcome to WordCamp Lancaster!

Rami Abraham

Call for Sponsors

Welcome, and thank you for sponsoring WordCamp Lancaster 2016!
We’ve got some terrific sponsorship levels available for area businesses that are interested in getting involved.

    Queen Street ($1,000)

    • Your name or logo in the WCLancaster sidebar and printed in the program.
    • A link to your home page on the WCLancaster sidebar.
    • Public thanks during opening/closing remarks.
    • A post thanking your business on the WCLancaster blog.
    • Up to 4 complimentary tickets to WordCamp Lancaster!
    • A company representative is welcome to join us for the Speakers Dinner on Friday, March 4th.
    • One table of approximately 3’W x 6’L or equivalent floor-space in the sponsors’ area.

      Strasburg Railroad – $600

    • Your name or logo in the WCLancaster sidebar and printed in the program.
    • A link to your home page on the WCLancaster sidebar.
    • Public thanks during opening/closing remarks.
    • Up to 2 complimentary tickets to WordCamp Lancaster!
    • Up to 1’W x 3’L of swag table space for promotional products (one or two tables on which you may place products along with other sponsors.

      Cart and Buggy – $350

    • Your name on our WCLancaster sidebar and in the program.
    • A link to the social media account of your choice on the WCLancaster sidebar.
    • A complimentary ticket to WordCamp Lancaster!
Sponsorship submissions are now closed!